According to The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), a number of Ohioans who didn’t register for unemployment benefits in 2020 will be receiving a 1099-G form from the State saying they did receive benefits and stating the amount. If you are among them, you are likely the victim of a fraudulent unemployment claim, a type of identity theft resulting from what is known as a Social Engineering Attack. Cybercriminals use phishing (emails), smishing (texts) or vishing (phone/voicemail) to steal your identity, then use it to file fraudulent unemployment claims.
If you believe you are a victim of unemployment fraud, file with the ODJFS at https://unemploymenthelp.ohio.gov/. The site provides a link to “Report Identity Theft” and offers detailed information in a section titled “ID Theft: What To Do.”
To protect yourself from Social Engineering Attacks, we recommend:
- Don’t give your Social Security number to someone you don’t know. No government agency or legitimate organization will request your Social Security number via email, text message or telephone.
- Scrutinize messages containing urgent requests.
- Study the message for subtle misspellings or replacements of letters with numbers.
- Use the “hover over” technique on a hyperlink in an email, then examine the URL you find there for the actual website/entity that will process the request.
- Verify the request via a different method, such as a phone call or online chat instead of a message reply.
- Never rely on the contact information or account numbers provided in the message!
Other ways to protect your identity (not an all-inclusive list):
- Review your annual free credit report via the Annual Credit Report website.
- Regularly monitor your credit cards online.
- Enable two-factor authentication for all your online financial and medical accounts.
- Consider freezing your credit files (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union).
Find additional email security recommendations in our article at: https://hbkcpa.com/cybersecurity-social-engineering-email-security-recommendations/